When most people think of senior oral care, they think of dentures. And while they can be an important aspect of dentistry for seniors, they don’t have to be. Seeing a dentist regularly throughout your life can reduce the risk of losing teeth and needing dentures. It is never too late to start taking better care of your oral health. This article will discuss how regular dental care is important for seniors.

Senior Oral Care and Gum Disease

According to the American Dental Association, 68% of Americans above the age of 65 suffer from gum disease. Gum disease can create a wide array of problems for seniors, including tooth sensitivity, halitosis, tooth loss, cardiovascular complications, and more. However, reducing gum disease after it has gone past its earliest stage can be nearly impossible without a dentist’s intervention.

Common Senior Comorbidities that Affect Oral Health

It is not uncommon for seniors to have more than one chronic health condition. Some chronic health conditions can have a negative impact on your oral health. Diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease are all common examples of this. However, there are many more. A few comorbidities you may not have known include Osteoporosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Alzheimer’s Disease, Psoriasis, and a variety of lung-related conditions. If you have one or more of these conditions, it can be especially important to take good care of your teeth and gums.

Medications that can Affect Oral Hygiene

Taking a number of different medications is common for most seniors. However, there are a number of medications that can affect the teeth and gums. Additionally, dry mouth is a common side effect of a wide assortment of medications. Some medications that affect oral health include:

  • Anticholinergics
  • Antidepressants
  • Antipsychotics
  • Some blood pressure medications
  • Some muscle relaxers
  • Opioids

While these medications can be important to keeping you healthy, it is important to make sure that you are not suffering as a result of the side effects. It is important to treat your oral health side effects before they become more problematic.

Dental Care Costs for Seniors

Unfortunately, many seniors lack sufficient dental insurance coverage, despite it being a major issue for the majority of seniors. In fact, one study found that 19% of all medicare recipients spent over $1,000 out of pocket for dental care in 2016. For many seniors on a fixed income, this may seem too steep. Because of this, it may be important to explore other potential options to help you reduce the cost of your dental care. This may include a Medicare Advantage plan. A Medicare Advantage plan is a supplemental addition to your Medicare coverage by a private company. These companies must follow guidelines set by Medicare. Overall this may help you reduce your out-of-pocket costs, and make dental care more affordable for you.

A Center for Dental Excellence does not provide medical or healthcare advice via articles. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only. It is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for medical advice.
A Center for Dental Excellence provides expert dental care to the Brooklyn and Staten Island communities we serve. To schedule an appointment or consultation, contact us or call the office you would like to visit. (718) 232-8289 for Brooklyn, and (718) 980-9555 for Staten Island.